What is the world’s biggest ship? She is the massive Pioneering Spirit, especially built for installation and removal of offshore oil-production platforms. With a pipe capacity of 2,000 tons, she is also the largest pipe-laying vessel in the world. Owned and operated by the Dutch-Swiss Allseas Group, she is currently completing fitting-out at the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and is expected to be operational by mid-2015.
The Korean-built, $3.1 billion ship has a unique configuration—essentially, two supertanker hulls joined by a bridging deckhouse structure, creating the world’s largest catamaran. The huge deckhouse has quarters for more than 571 crew members and construction workers.
In size, the new ship dwarfs the U.S. Navy’s giant Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. The Pioneering Spirit displaces 932,000 tons, a Nimitz carrier, 101,000. The Pioneering Spirit’s length is 1,253 feet (vs. 1,092 feet for a Nimitz) with a beam of 407 feet (to a Nimitz’s 252).